This cube craft paper toy is J Dilla (aka Jay Dee, real name James Dewitt Yancey), an American record producer who emerged from the mid-1990s underground hip hop scene in Detroit, Michigan, the paper craft was created by robeast. According to his obituary at NPR.org, he “was one of the music industry’s most influential hip-hop artists, working for big-name acts like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes and Common.”
Renowned producer Pete Rock placed J Dilla on his list of the top five producers of all time, while the editors of About.com ranked him #15 on their list of the Top 50 Hip-Hop Producers. Andy Kellman of Allmusic stated that – by 2004, after being active for well over a decade as a producer – J Dilla had accomplished enough to be considered “an all-time great.” J Dilla made the “Elite 8″ in the search for The Greatest Hip-Hop Producer of All Time by Vibe. Also, The Source placed him on its list of the 20 greatest producers in the magazine’s twenty-year history.
Yancey’s career began slowly. He has now become highly regarded, most notably for the production of critically acclaimed albums by Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Common, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde, and Erykah Badu. He was a member of Slum Village and produced their acclaimed debut album Fan-Tas-Tic and their follow-up Fantastic, Vol. 2.
In the early 2000s, Yancey’s career as a solo artist began to improve; A solo album Welcome 2 Detroit was followed by a collaborative album with California producer Madlib, Champion Sound, which catalyzed the careers of both artists. Just as his music was becoming increasingly popular, Yancey died in 2006 of the blood disease TTP.
Following J Dilla’s death, the hip hop community became centered upon his music and image. Many of the artists with whom Yancey worked and performed recorded tributes, and a large group of followers voiced their support for the late musician. Yancey’s music experienced a rebirth as the producer gained many times more listeners than he had during his life, partly due to media exposure. Though several posthumous albums have been released and others are planned, the amount of unreleased recordings by the producer remain somewhat undetermined. Yancey’s estate has also been controverted.
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